New York banned single-use plastic bags. (USA)
A statewide law, which took effect on Sunday, forbids businesses from providing the single-use bags that many shoppers rely on.
The law forbids most businesses from handing out the thin bags that are ubiquitous in supermarkets, bodegas and boutiques, making New York the third state to bar the bags after California, where a ban has already changed the way millions of people shop, and Oregon, where one took effect last month.If successful, the transition could spur a cultural sea change as significant as the end of smoking in bars, or the shift in attitudes ushered by seatbelt laws: Once optional, buckling up is now so automatic for most people that it happens almost unconsciously.
New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation does not plan on fining stores that continue to distribute bags on Day 1. Instead, the state has created an assiduous public education effort, called #BYOBagNY, essentially asking shoppers to build a new habit: bringing reusable bags. Proponents say that it will soon become a reflex.
Previous attempts to ban single-use plastic bags in New York, or to impose a charge for them, were met with concerns about cost, cleanliness and burdens on low-income residents.
In 2016, the New York City Council narrowly voted to approve a 5-cent plastic bag fee, but Governor Andrew M. Cuomo blocked it. Mr. Cuomo then set up a task force to study the issue, and in 2018 proposed the state law based on its findings. The bill was one of a raft of environmental measures to pass in 2019, after the Democrats took control of both houses of the Legislature.